Here are pictures of our two newest woodworking projects. I made 9 oak and mahogany heart boxes. Here is the oak one. It is about 4″ across.
This box below has several nice features. The top has a beautiful piece of veneer, Bob’s first attempt on his own. The white inserts at the corners are called splines. The outside of the box are angled which give a special look to the box. You can’t really see the angle in this photo. The wood is from Africa and called sapele. The box is 7″ by 10″ and we call it a keepsake box. It is also the wood that Cadillac uses inside their cars. It has beautiful grain.
Here is the inside of the box.
For a couple months now I have mentioned all the work Bob and another Woodworker Guild member have been doing on furniture for OLLI’s new building. The last remaining item has been the 12 chairs they need to make. Bob is doing some parts and Dan is doing some parts and neither of them has ever made a chair so they both have quite a learning curve. It has taken much longer than expected to get even the first chair frame done. Here it is:
Neither of us will ever look at a chair quite the same way. Getting these 16pieces to fit together is not easy. What you can’t see are all the mortice and tendon pieces that hold it together. The legs still need to be tapered a little. Dan, the project leader, is looking for some more people to help because the pieces need to be cut, shaped, sanded, stained, glued together and a finish applied. There will be an upholstered seat also. Bob is hoping he just has to do the five pieces for the back of the chairs. Surprisingly he is still in a good mood about doing the chairs. He said he has learned so much about using his equipment and also about how to make a chair. This is by far the most complex and difficult piece of woodworking he has done. We both agree doing the small projects like pens, boxes and candles is more our style.
Bob and Dan also made 4 square oak tables, 8 craft tables with laminated tops and 8 book cases. I will get photos of those later on. There were some other people who stepped forward to do painting and staining so those were not nearly as much work.
Bob and I have been having all kinds of fun the last few weeks making gifts to take back to Minnesota. I got half a dozen pens turned today. Making those are quick and so rewarding. I have really fallen in love with some of the exotic woods like ebony and bocate and purple heart. I never knew there were so many woods. I can even identify quite a few of them. Who would ever have thought I would be doing this? Certainly not me.
Our woodworking journey is such a great example of what people can do that is brand new when they retire. We keep coming up with relatively simple and easy to do things that are great for gifts. I just ordered a pattern for something that looks really interesting to make on the scroll saw. These are some pens I made last year. Bob is working very hard on his part of the backs of the 12 chairs that the Woodworking Guild needs to make for the new OLLI building. Quite a learning curve for both Bob and Dan, his fellow woodworker.
It’s been awhile since I posted any photos of what Bob and I have been working on. Enjoy!
Bob and I just got over colds and that slowed us down a little.
Today I just got a new kit to help me take better pictures. I don’t think it provides enough light but will play around with it some more. It’s a start of something better than a white sheet for a backdrop! Really a pretty good deal for $38. There are two lights, four different color backdrops and a tripod for the camera and all in a nice carrying bag.
This box is maple and walnut and I really like the shape of it. It is about 8″ long.
When we were at the Woodworkers Guild for our band saw box class we saw someone working on what he called “tiny boxes” and they were so cute. We got the directions and here is our second one. It is about 3 inches wide and the lid is hinged on little dowels. It is mahogany and oak. We will definitely make more of these. It’s a good way to use up scrap wood.
For Valentines day we combined several ideas we have seen for boxes and made this simple heart box. Once we figured out how to do it the construction was pretty fast. The openings are drilled in. The box is mahogany and is about 3 1/2 inches. The inside is flocked, like felt. I think it is really cute. We can use the same concepts for almost any small box shape.
We tried another natural edge box but with a much different bark than the first sycamore ones. I think it is made from a cotton wood tree but no one at the Guild knew for sure. It is about 7″.
I also have been making glycerine soap and practicing my origami.
Some is scented and colored, some with lavender buds in, some clear. You can see the swan and heart origami. I’m really, really excited that OLLI, at my suggestion, will be having an origami class next term. Hope enough people sign up for it so the class is a go. I have been wanting to study this more for decades but I’m not very good about figuring the folding out when I just look at a sheet of paper and instructions. I do much better with videos.
Last but not least, we still make some pens. These are from two beautiful exotic woods. The striped one is Bocote and the dark one is Indian Rosewood.
I have a couple small boxes and two larger boxes that will soon be finished and made some Valentine cards. That is what we do to keep busy when not taking naps, swimming, petting the cats, going to classes or doing fun things around town. More on those activities later.
We have been very busy making more creations and are very pleased with how these turned out.
This photo shows on the left a box we made earlier and the same box on the right once we had more practice. These are part of a group I made called my “baby boxes”. They are about 4″ by 4″. The one on the right is oak and mahogany and now has a cute little hand made mahogany pull handle like the one on the left.
This is another small box also oak and mahogany.
And this is my favorite small one. I like the lines on this.
While I was making my little boxes Bob worked on two large ones. This is about 9 inches long and is called biped. It is mahogany with birch handles.
Our favorite one is mahogany with birch drawer fronts and mahogany handles. It really turned out nice.
Bob cut out the two big ones and I cut out the little ones and I did most of the sanding and finishing on all of them and we both flocked the insides. The finish is 3 coats of Watco natural oil followed by a spray coat of shellac followed by three – four thin coats of spray lacquer.
Hope you enjoyed our work.
When we first got into wood turning a fellow woodworker gave us quite a supple of sycamore wood. We have turned some bowls and candles from it and the wood is beautiful but I’ve been trying to find a way to showcase it’s unusual bark. I thought about making turning a natural edge bowl but that’s beyond my skill level. Kind of by accident I found a video that made a band saw box but kept the natural look of the wood. These could not look more different than the other boxes I have showed you. These are about 5″ by 6″ and were really quick to make since there isn’t much wood to finish and I kept sanding to a minimum to keep it natural. The finish is tung oil.
This shows a “before” piece of wood on the left and the “after” with the oil finish.
Here are the three finished pieces. Notice the three different shapes of drawers – circle, triangle and egg shaped. Bob turned the knobs out of left over wood.
We have a nice log of cherry wood which has thick rough bark so that will be interesting to work with for the next two boxes.
I’m going to switch from these boxes and go back to the scroll saw. I finished my practice cuts and did a couple simple cut outs of a cat and a fish. Next will be a more complicated butterfly. At the Woodworkers Guild holiday dinner last night one of the very experienced woodworkers brought in a table he had made with a large (10″) inlaid scroll pattern in the center. He said it took him 40 hours to cut out. I don’t have that much patience.
If you aren’t familiar with a scroll saw this photograph shows some butterflies someone did. I DID NOT MAKE THESE. I could probably soon do the two large ones on the right.
This weekend Bob and I finished 6 boxes and started 6 more. Hope you enjoy seeing them. We sure are having fun. All of them are band saw boxes. As you can see there is a lot of flexibility in how they look.
These are called nesting boxes. The smaller box is made from the inside of the larger box. These are sample boxes we made with inexpensive poplar. The one on the left is natural and the one on the right we tried to stain cherry. This wood is infamous for being blotchy, even though I sealed it. The larger box is about 6 inches long and 3 inches high. Bob and I both worked on these.
This little pod box is 4″ by 4 inches and is made out of mahogany. I made this one.
This beautiful little maple box is 6″ by 3″. I like this one quite a bit. It is harder to make than I thought it would be. This has Watco oil on it but then we buffed it on the Beal buffing system. The maple acts very different than the mahogany.
This is a larger mahogany box and is about 8″ by 3 1/2 inches. It has a maple handle.
This is another mahogany and maple box and it is about 7″ by 3 1/2 “. This is our favorite.
I think we have the finish figured out now for mahogany. Mahogany is an open pore wood and is not easy to work with. We like this finish better than the one we used on the earlier boxes plus it is easier to do. These are all done with Watco Danish oil and a light coat of spray lacquer on the top which really makes the color pop but not shiny. The wood has a beautiful golden red tone which doesn’t really show up in the photograph. Who knew there were so many different ways to finish wood?
We think we have come a long way with this style of box in only a few months. We continue to learn little tricks on making them from other woodworkers. The next 6 are four little ones, like the pod, that I am working on and Bob is doing two larger two drawer ones. We also have ideas for a couple other “unconventional” natural boxes.
We figure each box from laminating the wood, cutting it out, sanding, gluing them back together, applying the finish and flocking the inside of the box takes 8-10 hours per box. The larger two drawer ones definitely take more time. The sanding is really time consuming but the joy we feel when the creation is done makes it all worth while.
I have made quite a few pens with exotic wood and I think they are really pretty. I have sold quite a few and we just bought a bunch more exotic wood. The red one is called blood wood.
Bob made me a box for my handmade greeting cards. I can change out the cards to match the season. I love it.
Bob is making his first comissioned creamation box. He is really reasearching the various finishes to put on wood. The picture is the practice creamation box he made out of poplar. The one he is making for my friend is out of cherry. I think her name will be engraved on top. He might already have comissions for a couple more. You can see he has already progressed to doing inlaid wood. The finish on this is so smooth.
We met another woodworker who lives near by and who does engraving on wood, glass and metal and will see how we can incorporate that into woodworking.
Bob and I have a new craft we will be trying out in the weeks ahead – bandsaw boxes. They look hard but actually are something that with some practice I could make. Here is an example of what they can look like. WE DID NOT MAKE THESE. The variety of the boxes is immense and just limited by your imagination.
The other thing he recently made for one of my friends is a muddler for smashing the mint mojitos and mint juleps. It turned out good. He made it out of hard maple. I haven’t sent it to her yet but I think she will like it.
Bob continues to help out with the technology at the Woodworkers Guild so maybe goes down there once or twice a month for that. The next Guild meeting is on finishing furniture so we are both looking forward to that.
Bob finished the potting bench on Sunday. The instructions recommended that you not put in the boards for the top and bottom platforms or the ledge shelf on the top because it would be too heavy to move so he followed their instructions and finished assembly outside. Our neighbor Ed helped him carry it out on Sunday afternoon and Monday he got it leveled in place and added the boards. It’s beautiful. We don’t have to worry about this bench blowing away. I can’t wait to use it. The cost was about $100. I found a couple on craigslist.com and they were $200 or more. It’s 57″ long and there is a 10 inch shelf with a lip so stuff doesn’t slide off on top. Sturdy enough for my biggest pots.
Bob worked all day Sat. and Sun. on my bench. I helped him hold some of the big 4 X 4 pieces when he did some special sawing on them. He has had a few boo boo’s but nothing that is serious. He is learning so much with each project he does.
Here is all the wood.
Man at work:
This bench is solid. I don’t have to worry about putting my biggest pot filled with dirt on it. Just hose off for easy clean up.